Two autobiographies by Drew

“I had my first drink at age nine, began smoking marijuana at ten and at twelve took up cocaine.” 

Drew Barrymore’s legal emancipation from her mother at age 14, her self-driven ‘rebranding’ as teen-seductress, and her multiple engagements and three short marriages were still to come. So it should make for some wild reading, right? Actually, not really. Continue reading

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Bugger. This happened.

I had a self-imposed winter book buying ban. I’ve held true to it, despite all the temptations that came my way. And then last night, with approximately 28 hours left on my three-month long ban, this happened:

cyndi-lauper

No excuses. I was in the moment at Cyndi’s 30th anniversary She’s So Unusual tour. I love a bit of tour merch and I really, really love Cyndi. Continue reading

‘Ru’ by Kim Thúy

You know that clever little feature on your Kindle that lets you highlight favourite passages? Mine went into overdrive when I was reading the utterly brilliant Ru by Kim Thúy.

At ten years old, Kim Thúy fled Vietnam on a boat with her family, leaving behind a grand house and the many less tangible riches of their home country: the ponds of lotus blossoms, the songs of soup-vendors. The family arrived in Quebec, where they found clothes at the flea market, and mattresses with actual fleas.

There’s a delicacy and an innocence to Thúy’s words that is quite simply, breathtaking.

“Love, as my son Pascal knows it, is defined by the number of hearts drawn on a card or by how many stories about dragons are told by flashlight under a down-filled comforter. I have to wait a few more years till I can report to him that in other times, other places, parents showed their love by willingly abandoning their children, like the parents of Tom Thumb.” Continue reading

‘Swimming Studies’ by Leanne Shapton

A few years ago I read a life-changing book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. ‘Life-changing’ might sound somewhat over-the-top but the book prompted me to examine what made me truly happy. And my conclusion was this – reading and swimming. I especially like reading by the pool. At some stage I will put together a review of The Happiness Project (so I can document the bits that I found helpful) but in the meantime, here’s a book about swimming – the remarkably lovely Swimming Studies.

Swimming Studies is a curious little book. It’s a memoir by Canadian writer and artist Leanne Shapton, focused on the period of her life when she was training for the Olympic swimming trials. Shapton provides a unique and original perspective on  swimming, swimming pools and even bathers (that’s swimwear for my non-Aussie readers). It’s described as this –

“What do you with an all-absorbing activity once it’s passed its relevance, and yet you can’t quite give it up? Is it possible to find a new purpose for its rigours and focus? “Swimming Studies” ….explores what it is like to move from a world of competition and discipline to one of recreation and introspection.” Continue reading